Winter support

Colchester Borough Council is providing support for residents, businesses, and communities throughout winter.

The Council's Recovery Plan


Council

The Council recovery plan has 5 key objectives:

  1. Restart Council decision making and public participation in a digital environment.
  2. Restore and adapt Council services harnessing the positive changes made review.
  3. Revise our finances to deliver a balanced budget and sustainable MTFF (Medium Term Financial Forecast).
  4. Reset the Council’s strategic priorities.
  5. Reimagine and reinvent our services to meet our priorities and budget.

Activities already completed include:

  • A first full cycle of public Council Decision Making meetings have been successfully delivered and viewed on the Council YouTube channel.
  • All services resumed following Covid risk assessments being carried out on a service by service basis.
  • Rowan House and the Town Hall utilised with appropriate Covid-19 controls in place.
  • Lobbying of central government to hold them to their word that all Covid-19 cost/budget impacts would be met.
  • The Medium-Term Financial Forecast has been revised to take account of the emerging position but there is still a considerable budget gap.
  • The New Strategic Priorities previously adopted by Council have been reviewed and found to be still be appropriate.
  • The thematic approach to the budget strategy is encouraging a reimagination of services.

Additional work started or planned includes:

  • Following a full cycle of virtual Council Decision Making meetings, a review is being undertaken. Improvements include enabling members of the public to ask live questions at all public decision-making meetings in addition to the option to make written submissions.
  • A report for consideration by the Governance and Audit Committee on future meeting arrangements including the option of hybrid in person/virtual meetings.
  • The opportunity to trial virtual meetings has been useful and could be used in the future to reduce the environmental impact of these meetings, through reduced travel by officers and members, as well as reduced printing of papers.
  • Services will be continually adapted as government guidance evolves.
  • Preparations are being made so services are prepared for any further controls in the event of a second wave of Covid-19.
  • Officer based services continue to be delivered predominantly through home working but as government guidance changes more staff will be provided with the option of working at Rowan House. A review of office accommodation requirements is being undertaken following the demonstrable success of greater levels of homeworking. The mass shift to homeworking achieved in a short space of time has demonstrated its potential to become a greater part of Council working, bringing sustainability benefits including decreases in emissions and congestion throughout the borough because of reductions in staff travel to work. However, thought will have to be given to this approach to take account of the difficulties of homeworking for some staff, to ensure staff wellbeing is not impacted by any changes.
  • A thematic approach to developing a proposed budget strategy is being taken with each theme being led by an Assistant Director.
  • The Budget Strategy will be further developed and adapted over coming months to take account of any changes to the financial position.
  • The programme of projects to deliver the Strategic Priorities are being reviewed to ensure they contribute to recovery and they can be delivered with the finance available.
  • A revised Strategic Plan to be considered by Cabinet.
  • The thematic approach to the budget strategy includes identifying new commercial opportunities, service efficiencies through continuous improvement and digitisation and new delivery models in addition to fundamentally reviewing the Council’s priorities for service delivery, for example in re-assessing the relationship between the Council, our partners and the Community. Many of these service changes, such as increased digitalisation of processes will bring environmental improvements in the way Council services are operated.

Page last reviewed: 27 October 2020